It happened every Sunday in church. No matter how hard Jeremy tried, he always got the wiggle-waggles. He tried very hard to sit still during Primary. He kept his arms folded as long as he could and sang all the Primary songs. Jeremy listened to the lesson in his class and tried to answer questions. But sometimes, even when he tried his very hardest to sit still, they still came—those bothersome wiggle-waggles!
It usually happened toward the end of Primary and carried on through sacrament meeting. Jeremy would start to fidget, then he’d play with his tie. He’d rattle his papers from Primary, then twist around in his seat. He tried talking to his best friend, Thomas, but Thomas would put a finger to his lips to tell Jeremy to be quiet. Thomas never seemed to get the wiggle-waggles.
Sometimes Jeremy would untie his shoes. When the wiggle-waggles were really bad, he would slip off his shoes and kick his stocking feet back and forth.
“Sit still, Jeremy,” his Primary teacher whispered to him.
“Shhh, Jeremy, I want to listen to Sister Bernard,” Thomas said quietly when Jeremy tried to tell him about his new toy dump truck.
“Put your feet down,” his mother cautioned in sacrament meeting.
“Leave your shoes on, son,” his dad told him.
Jeremy tried to sit reverently and quietly. He really did! But he still had those wiggle-waggles every Sunday.
One night at family home evening, Jeremy’s mother brought up the wiggle-waggle problem.
“I try to sit still, Mom. I really do!” Jeremy exclaimed.
“It seems to me that we need to figure out a way to stop those wiggle-waggles from bothering Jeremy,” Dad said thoughtfully. “Let’s all think about it, and maybe we’ll come up with a solution.”
On Sunday morning, just before the family left for church, Jeremy’s mother gave him a piece of paper and a pencil. Then she said, “Jeremy, I want you to write down a sentence about your lesson in Primary, and a sentence about the talks that you hear in sacrament meeting. Do you think you could do that?”
Jeremy nodded enthusiastically.
“We’ll talk about what you wrote on your paper for family home evening,” his mother added.
All through Primary, Jeremy sat very still. He listened carefully to the talks and scripture and wrote down the scripture reference. Jeremy sang with his best voice during singing time, and even wrote down a verse to one of the Primary songs. Then he wrote a sentence about sharing time. Jeremy didn’t talk to Thomas once. During the walk to their class, Thomas commented on how reverent Jeremy was. During his Primary class, Jeremy quietly wrote down a sentence about the lesson. Before he knew it, Primary was over.
“I didn’t get the wiggle-waggles once!” Jeremy proudly reported to his parents as they sat down for sacrament meeting.
During the next hour, Jeremy tried very hard to sit quietly. But after a while, he started to feel the wiggle-waggles creeping up on him. He glanced down at his paper and read the words of the Primary song he had written down: “It shouldn’t be hard to sit very still and think about Jesus, his cross on the hill, and all that he suffered and did for me; it shouldn’t be hard to sit quietly.”*
Jeremy thought about the song. That was the secret! He should think about Jesus. Jeremy knew that Jesus would want him to sit quietly and listen.
Jeremy listened as Elder Vasquez, one of the missionaries serving in his ward, related an experience about a 10-year-old girl who had recently been baptized. He listened when Elder Brown, the other missionary, told the congregation that he was from England and had been on his mission for only three months. As Jeremy listened to the missionaries, he decided that he would like to be a missionary, too.
Jeremy was surprised when the closing hymn was announced. He looked down at his paper and noticed that he hadn’t written anything about the missionaries. He had been too busy listening to them! And the wiggle-waggles hadn’t bothered him once!
As they were leaving the church after sacrament meeting, Jeremy’s parents told him how happy they were that he’d been so reverent. Jeremy told them how the Primary song had taught him to think about Jesus and what He wanted him to do.
Just then, Sister Harper came up to Jeremy’s parents and said, “Jeremy is so quiet! I wish my Kerry would learn how to be quiet and reverent like Jeremy. She gets so wiggly!”
Jeremy’s mother winked at him.
“It looks like the wiggle-waggles found someone else to bother,” she said.
“Yes.” Jeremy smiled and held up his piece of paper. “And I know just what she can do to fix it!”
“Reverent behaviors follow reverent attitudes, but it is the attitude of reverence that we need to cultivate [develop] first.”
Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “‘Serve God Acceptably with Reverence and Godly Fear,’” Ensign, Nov. 1990, 70.